U.S. Congress Saves Kenyans Loss of Thousands of Textile Jobs
Thousands working in Kenya-based US textile factories will be spared from losing their jobs following a Congress’ vote on Thursday for a three-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
The Agoa preferential trade programme has spurred job growth in Kenya since its creation 12 years ago by allowing clothing made in eligible African countries to enter the US without import fees.
Manufacturers warned that failure to extend Agoa, which was to expire on September 30, would have decimated Kenya’s textile sector.
Mr Thomas Puthoor, head of Kapric Apparels EPZ Ltd in Mombasa, told the Wall Street Journal in June that his factory could shrink to “one-fourth to one-fifth the size, if it’s not shut down.” Kapric has 2,200 workers and last year sold textile worth $21 million to the US.
The passed law allows Kenya and other countries to remain in Agoa if shipped clothing is made from fabric produced outside Africa.
Kenya’s textile industry depends on fabrics made in Asia.
“Today’s action in both chambers of Congress means protection for not only the 2000 Americans whose jobs depend on this legislation, but also for thousands of African workers,” said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk adding that “President Obama is ready to sign this legislation as soon as it reaches his desk.”
Source: Daily Nation